Newcastle United could put the memory of a difficult lose against Manchester City behind them with a victory over West Ham United on Saturday.
The Magpies travel to Upton Park to face a West Ham side that is struggling to avoid relegation. The Hammers are in 17th place in the table, ahead of Cardiff City on goal differential. Sam Allardyce’s club have won just once in their last eight Premier League matches.
Newcastle are hoping to get back on the right track after losing their last three Premier League matches. The Magpies have not scored in 280 minutes in Premier League action.
The main storyline of the match will, of course be Andy Carroll, who will be playing against his former club. It will also be a special match for Alan Pardew who managed West Ham between 2003 and 2006. Former Newcastle midfielder Kevin Nolan will not play due to suspension.
The two clubs played to a 0-0 draw on Match Day 2 in August at St.James’ Park. Saturday’s match will be the first of three consecutive matches against weaker clubs in the Premier League. Newcastle will face Norwich City on January 28th, followed by Sunderland three days later.
Injuries and Suspensions
Andy Carroll made his long-awaited return last week as a substitute in a 2-0 defeat of Cardiff City. A foot injury caused the 25-year-old to miss the entire first half of the season.
As mentioned West Ham captain Kevin Nolan will miss the match after being sent off against Fulham on New Years Day. English defender James Tomkins was given a red card last week against Cardiff and is suspended as well.
Sam Allardyce also has several key injuries to worry about, particularly on defense. Defender Guy Demel collided with team-mate Roger Johnson last weekend and is said to be suffering from a concussion and a dislocated elbow.
Welsh defender James Collins has missed the last several weeks with a calf injury. While New Zealand international Winston Reid has been out since November with a foot injury. Both are not expected to play on Saturday.
Portuguese forward Ricardo Vaz Tê has been out of action since October with a dislocated shoulder and remains doubtful for Saturday.
But the team did receive some good news this week. Irish defender Joey O’Brien missed last week’s match against Cardiff but could return to action against Newcastle. And most importantly, high-rated midfielder Ravel Morrison has been battling a groin injury but is expected to play.
Alan Pardew’s squad remains relatively healthy. Although, Fabricio Coloccini remains weeks away from returning from a knee injury. And defender Mathieu Debuchy will serve the final game of a three-match suspension on Saturday.
Sam Allardyce has experimented with several different formations this season. Injuries have, no doubt played a role. Striker Carlton Cole has been in good form for the club recently, scoring three goals in his last five Premier League matches.
Cole leads the club in scoring with four goals this season and is still expected to start even with Andy Carroll available. But most of West Ham’s attacks will surely involve English midfielder Ravel Morrison who has become the club’s most influential player this season.
Alan Pardew played a 4-2-3-1 formation against Manchester City last week. But he has been known to use Shola Ameobi as a second striker alongside Loïc Rémy this season as well. Steven Taylor is expected to play once again at centre back in place of Coloccini. While Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa will play right-back in Debuchy’s absence.
West Ham desperately need points to avoid relegation. They will no doubt be encouraged by the return of striker Andy Carroll who would relish the chance to score against the club he grew up supporting. But their home record has been very poor this season, having won only twice in ten matches.
Despite having lost four consecutive matches, the Magpies have not really played poorly in any of those games. They probably deserved at least a point from the matches against Arsenal and Manchester City. And the red card to Debuchy was an unlucky turning point against West Bromwich Albion.
Newcastle have clearly demonstrated an ability to bounce back from a difficult match this season. Also injuries and suspensions will mean that Sam Allardyce will be forced to field a depleted line-up. Newcastle United produce a solid victory.
West Ham United 0 – 2 Newcastle United